Q. What is the general procedure for stripping and waxing a floor?
A. First, decide if you would like to rent an automatic scrubber from a local jan/san store. If the area is large, this can save you hours of labor. Otherwise, you will need a dust mop with a second clean head, a 17”- 20” rotary floor scrubbing machine, a strip pad, doodlebug with a black or brown pad, two mop buckets with two 24 oz. mop heads and handles, a razor scrapper, a foam rubber floor squeegee, wet vac, commercial stripper, commercial floor finish, and a flat mop for applying finish.
Clear and secure the area and then dust mop the floor to remove dust and litter. You may want to wear rubber gloves and goggles when diluting the stripper (according to label). Be prepared to adjust the mix ratio because black tile can “bleed” onto the white if the concentration is too strong. From the mop bucket (containing the diluted stripper), place the mop into the press momentarily and then apply diluted stripper moderately to the floor. Start at the back and work toward front using a figure-8 motion. Apply stripper to an area approx. 8 feet wide and 20 feet long or at the most, 30 feet long. Be careful not to skip any areas.
After a 20 min. dwell time, start floor machine on dry tile and buff into wet solution. If areas have dried, re-apply stripper. While scrubbing the area, observe if ALL discoloration and finish buildup has been removed. Peer intensely through the slurry to observe cleaning conditions on the tile. Normally, you will make a slow pass side to side and work from front to back. Then, return to the front as you make a second slow (side to side) pass. Try not to splash stripper on walls, doors, carpet, or adjacent areas.
Scrub edges with a doodlebug and razor scrape any buildup, etc. Make sure the floor does not dry and then squeegee the slurry into a puddle at the front and use the wet vac to pick it up. Next, apply two rinses, the first one heavy and the second one with less water. Carefully mop baseboards and wipe any splashes from doors, etc. with a towel. Change mop water often. Rinse mop heads before returning them to the clean water mop bucket. If the floor dries with a super-clean appearance (no shiny or dirty spots), continue to the next area and repeat the procedure. For heavy build-up, it must be stripped a second time.
When the floor is dry, dust mop it with a clean, lint-free head. Apply floor finish to the floor from a gallon jug. There are several handy applicator systems available, or you can drill holes in the jug cap, or with a rubber glove, hold your thumb over the jug opening and distribute evenly to floor. Use a flat mop with a floor finish head to spread finish in a uniform manner.
Avoid skips and overlapping onto areas that are starting to dry. Again, an 8 X 20 area is a good size to re-finish at a time. Then pour out and spread the next adjacent area. Allow at least 30 min. drying time between coats. Apply 4 coats. There are a lot of things that can go wrong for an inexperienced technician. You may want to consider hiring someone experienced to help you until you get the hang of things.
Most commercial finish is self-polishing (dries to a gloss) and will not require buffing or burnishing until later. Once the floor begins to dull from traffic, you will need to start a buffing program. In a church setting, you may want to buff once a month, scrub and top coat twice a year, and strip and refinish every three years. Maintain by dust mopping regularly with a treated dust mop, and damp mop as needed with a mild solution of the cleaner you have. Remember: clean and shiny floors are only kept that way by following a programmed floor care routine.
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